Not only is Nvidia’s latest 28nm “Kepler” GPU parts shipping to laptop manufacturers, the latest news is that it will end up in ultrabooks.
The prospect of having a 28nm Nvidia GPU in a laptop with a really convenient form factor certainly sounds appealing. Although the chips that will find their way into Intel’s high-end netbook replacements are most likely low-end parts, they should at the very least outperform Intel’s own integrated HD Graphics 4000 (Ivy Bridge) when it ships in April. Seeing as Intel’s next-gen graphics solution looks to be fairly powerful in itself, this should bode well for gaming on small laptops.
Another likely–and considerably more powerful–candidate for Kepler is the upcoming Alienware refresh, where the M17x is rumored to have options for a GTX 660M, GTX 675M, or AMD’s HD 7970M. All of these parts are still unannounced and there are no details on actual performance or specifications, but it’s a probably a safe bet that the GTX 660M replaces the ubiquitous GTX 560M.
AMD is currently making a killing on the desktop front with its latest 28nm part, and considering that the folks at Nvidia are “positively surprised” with its performance it will be very interesting to see how the two rivals measure up in the laptop department.
The fact that Kepler parts have started shipping to manufacturers does unfortunately not mean that they will appear in laptops immediately. Both AMD and Nvidia’s 28nm laptop GPUs are expected to launch in about the same time frame as Ivy Bridge, around April.